Monday, May 14, 2007

Buy Local, Read Global

Along with the physical store, Miss Prothero's Books does online retailing. We hate it, but we do it. It seems to be one of those things you do to stay alive. Today we had to wonder how long we going to be able to stay alive. We didn't think about USPS rate changes too much until we actually had to stand in line and face up to the madness this morning.

Okay, we admit that sending books media mail is still cheap. But when you're already selling your stock too cheaply, every penny counts. If we mail with confirmation (which we usually do), we are paying approximately 21 cents more per book. Forget about listing mass market or trade paperbacks. Who wants to do that anymore?

Unless, you want the big boys and girls to take over the online industry, think about that the next time you look for the 1 cent buy on Amazon. Think of the high cost of cheap.

I have other misgivings about the changes at the post office. The "Forever Stamp" seems like a whole bunch of hooey. It makes no sense to stock up until another rate change looms on the horizon. Or will USPS make this magic stamp a limited time offer? If that's so, then the "forever" stamp is just a rip-off.

And pricing based on shape? The little blue USPS brochure states, their "new pricing system emphasizes shape to more accurately reflect our true cost of doing business." What's the translation? We want to use more machines and fewer human beings to handle the mail?

Oh, well...Miss P will have to reconsider her online listings.

Times are tough for your neighborhood bookstore.

As Kurt Vonnegut used to say, "So it goes."


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